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Body Language Books and Resources

For anyone interested in learning more about dog body language, there are many resources available, including books, websites, and videos. Here are some recommendations.

I've got two books about body language and behavior on my training bookshelf that I consult regularly:

In Canine Behavior: A Photo Illustrated Handbook , Barbara Handelman covers dog body language and behavior from A-Z with hundreds of illustrative photos. In her introduction she details the evolving history of understanding canine body language and defines key concepts for using the book. The rest of the book is dedicated to objective descriptions of body language and suggestions about what those behaviors may signal.

Brenda Aloff organizes her book Canine Body Language: a Photographic Guide by category of behavior. She includes extensively captioned photos to illustrate her descriptions and offers training tips based on specific body language examples. In the introduction she traces a brief history of how humans developed different breeds and how breed can influence body language and behavior. The book concludes with a quiz for practicing your new skills at reading dog behavior.

Designer and artist Lili Chin has also written and illustrated a dog body language book, Doggie Language: a Dog Lover's Guide to Understanding Your Best Friend, inspired by her Boston Terrier, Boogie. Like Brenda Aloff, Chin divides her book into sections based on types of behavior. She describes the body language and discusses possible interpretations along with each drawing.

On her website, Lili Chin also offers free downloads of some of her most famous graphics.

While photos and illustrations are a great way to start learning about body language, seeing dogs in action is also important. Fear Free Pets provides a wonderful video summary:

I hope that this month's blog posts and these resources help you learn to better understand and interact with your furry best friend.

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